As London’s culinary epicentre expands and the current trend of hoteliers and restaurateurs who are seeking premises away from central London gathers pace, internationally-acclaimed chefs such as Jason Atherton continue to experiment. One such location is Typing Room, set within Bethnal Green’s sophisticated Town Hall Hotel, formerly home to Nuno Mendes’ successful eatery Viajante. This new launch will undoubtedly excite patrons who regularly frequent Atherton’s central London hotspots Pollen Street Social and Social Eating House, not to mention new addition City Social at Tower42, and Esquina in Singapore.
Bethnal Green, during British summer, is quite charming. The once decaying Georgian terraces have been revamped and the roads appear quieter.
Upon entering, the Town Hall Hotel’s ornate 1930s art deco splendour impresses. Typing Room is located immediately to the left. Two charming dining rooms with an open kitchen located at one end. Sleek Danish-inspired tables and chairs have been thoughtfully arranged and a bright, modern ambiance is most welcoming.
Our jolly, informed sommelier presented us each with a glass of Pascal Doquet Horizon blanc de blancs brut Champagne, and recommended a superbly dry Chablis from Domaine Pascal & Didier (2011).
Head chef Lee Westcott has a talent for creativity as well as flavour. On offer at lunch was the choice of a seven-course tasting menu or the a la carte – we opted for a la carte. The yeasted cauliflower, raisins, capers and mint (£10) entrée was a culinary masterpiece, with the mint and capers adding just the right amount of bitterness to the dish. My companion’s scorched langostine, sweetcorn, dashi and lardo (£15) was intriguing. Salty lardo accompanied by a cube of fleshy, creamy langostine impressed.
A pleasant pan-fried sea bass, heritage tomato, courgette and squid (£26) was a small culinary triumph, and my skate, fermented endive, broccoli, curry and mango hit all the right buttons. The skate (£24) was light and nicely seared, while the curry and mango’s opposing flavours worked well.
The exquisitely presented summer berries, chocolate and vanilla ice cream and meringue tasted as it looked; fresh, vibrant and delicate.
Should time allow, the hotel is well worth a visit. Numerous bedrooms and suites are juxtaposed with classic Edwardian features and modern luxuries. The in-house gym and 15-metre swimming pool will excite fitness enthusiasts.
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